Watch the complete film here on CBC Gem.
Co-directed by Omar Mouallem and Dylan Rhys Howard, Digging In The Dirt is a broadcast-length documentary that examines the mental health challenges faced by the predominantly male workforce in Alberta’s oil and gas industry. An expansion of an award-winning article by Omar Mouallem that originally appeared in Buzzfeed in 2017, the documentary relates the experiences of several former and current oil and gas workers who have struggled with a sense despair exacerbated by the long hours and gruelling working conditions their jobs often demand. The film contextualizes these worker’s stories with a broader cultural lens through interviews with psychologists, sociologists, and community organizers who are actively working to curb the alarming trend of disproportionately high rates of suicide among men who work in trades and industry. Finally, the film highlights the progress that has been made within the industry towards viewing mental health as part of the broader concern surrounding occupational health and safety, and the successes of peer-to-peer outreach programs like the Suicide Prevention Resource Centre’s Tough Enough To Talk About It.